FIGHTING OUR GOLIATHS PART 5

CULTIVATING A HABIT OF COURAGE AND FAITH

God’s talking to us today about cultivating a habit of courage and faith. IF WE’RE GOING TO FIGHT OUR GOLIATHS AND WIN, WE NEED TO BE ARMED  WITH COURAGE AND FAITH. Why?

Because IT’S GOING TO TAKE COURAGE AND FAITH TO GET OUT OF THE FOXHOLES, FIGHT THE GIANT, AND WIN.

So how do we go about cultivating a habit of courage and faith? There are four things that I’d like for you to see in the way David conducted himself in his day to day life as a shepherd.

1. DAVID STAYED AND FOUGHT HIS FIGHTS. Getting into a tussle with a hungry lion or bear is no light matter. People have been killed and eaten in that horrible way. Many, if not all, of us would have run. But David chose to stay and fight! HE DETERMINED FROM THE VERY START TO FIGHT LIFE’S TRIALS AND BATTLES, NOT SHIRK THEM OR AVOID THEM.

Nobody likes trials. Most of all me. I don’t like them and I don’t volunteer to go through them. But I’ve learned that YOU DON’T GAIN ANYTHING BY SHIRKING YOUR TRIALS. IN FACT, YOU DO YOURSELF MORE HARM THAN GOOD WHEN YOU RUN FROM YOUR TRIALS!

(A) For one thing, whenever you shirk your battles and refuse to fight them you’re making a coward out of yourself. You’re reinforcing and strengthening the grip that fear and unbelief have on you. It’s as if you’re building a prison cell around you that will keep you locked in in the prison of fear and unbelief.

WHENEVER YOU GIVE UP FAITH AND DON’T ENDURE YOUR TRIALS YOU’RE MAKING IT HARDER AND HARDER FOR YOU TO BELIEVE AND ENDURE THE NEXT TIME AROUND.

You see, there’s no doubting the fact that there will be more fights, more trials, more wars up ahead. For David, the  lion and  the  bear were not  the last or  the end of  his  trials. There was a Goliath after that. And even after Goliath, David had his fights and wars as Israel’s king. So you’ve got to recognize the fact that you’re going to have more trials down the road.

Now when you choose not to believe God for the promises and choose not to endure your trials you’re making it less and less likely that you’ll stay around and fight the next fight. You’re cultivating a habit of fear and faithlessness that makes it harder for you to stand up to the Devil, resist him, and drive him and his minions out of the Valley.

(B) Moreover, WHEN YOU SHIRK YOUR TRIALS YOU’RE ONLY ASKING FOR MORE! Stop and think about it for a moment. Who does a bully pick fights with? With those he knows he can push around and beat. Who does a criminal attack? Those who are vulnerable, weak and unarmed. When you read the text of Scripture you see who Goliath haunted and taunted for forty days and forty nights. He haunted the cowards in the foxholes. Those who were much smaller and weaker than him. Those whom he was confident of beating.

Brethren, WHEN YOU REMAIN IN THE FOXHOLES AND REFUSE TO COME OUT AND FIGHT YOUR BATTLES–BE IT WITH THE LION, THE BEAR, OR THE GIANT–YOU’RE ONLY ASKING THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE GIANT TO KEEP ON COMING BACK, TIME AFTER TIME, TO ROB YOU OF YOUR SHEEP AND TO ROB YOU OF YOUR FAITH. You see, THE TRIAL WITH THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE GIANT, DIDN’T END UNTIL DAVID PUT IT TO AN END. It took a courageous, faith—filled shepherd boy to bring the trial to an end.

AS  LONG AS YOU REFUSE TO FIGHT THE DEVIL, THE DEVIL WILL KEEP FIGHTING YOU, TAUNTING YOU, AFFLICTING YOU, ROBBING YOU–BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE CAN DO IT AND GET AWAY WITH IT. HE KNOWS YOU WON’T STOP HIM FROM DOING IT. SO HE KEEPS ON DOING IT UNTIL HE’S TAKEN EVERYTHING AWAY FROM YOU. YOUR FAITH. YOUR MORALS. YOUR LIFE. YOUR SOUL.

2. THE THOUGHT OR DESIRE FOR SELF PRESERVATION DIDN’T STOP DAVID FROM FIGHTING. How many of you would like to get into a tussle with a lion or bear? Have you ever seen a lion or bear who was hungry and angry? Our first reaction would be to run and keep a lot of distance between ourselves and that rampaging beast.  Naturally, we wouldn’t enjoy seeing our lambs and sheep get killed. But better the lambs instead of us! As far as we’re concerned, saving the lambs is not worth getting ourselves killed! Father would rather have dead lambs and a live son instead of a dead son and dead lambs. Our first instinct, I am saying, would be for our own personal safety and life. It’s called self-preservation and the desire to stay alive.

But David didn’t think that way! The welfare of the flock was placed directly in his hands and he would not stand idly by and watch his family’s lambs served raw as lamb chops  for some wild beast of the field. Whatever thoughts and desires David might have had about running and saving his own skin, he didn’t let them dissuade him from tangling with a lion or bear. The desire to stay alive and not get killed didn’t stop David from fighting what was, in the natural, a life and death trial. It didn’t stop him from fighting what most of us would have considered a doomed and suicidal fight that was certain to end in defeat and death.

Could David have been killed in his tangle with the lion and bear? Well, there are two ways of looking at anything in life. From a natural point of view, yes, David could have been killed by the lion and the bear. In the natural, a brother or sister who’s going through a severe trial could end up dying. Death is always a possibility—if not a very real likelihood—whenever a Goliath is involved. That’s the natural point of view.

But God’s wanting to teach us a new way of thinking or looking at things. He’s wants us to see things from a spiritual point of view. The spiritual point of view is this. When you’re walking with the Lord and trusting Him and His Word, then IT’S YOU WHO DETERMINES HOW THE BATTLE IS GOING TO END. NOT THE LION, NOT THE BEAR, NOT THE GIANT, NOT THE TRIAL. NOT THE DEVIL. WHEN YOU BRING GOD, THE PROMISES, AND FAITH INTO THE TRIAL, BRETHREN, YOU’LL KNOW HOW THE TRIAL IS GOING TO END.

Look again at verses 36 and 37: Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  (37)  David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.

DAVID KNEW HOW THE BATTLE WAS GOING TO END BEFORE HE EVEN GOT ON THE BATTLEFIELD! What’s even more astounding is, when David walked out on the battlefield, he got even bolder and stronger in faith! And he wasn’t afraid to speak or confess what he was believing would happen.

David made very specific predictions about how the fight was going to end and he even told Goliath what these predictions were. Look at verse 46, This day [this is what’s going to happen today. Not tomorrow. Not some unknown time in the future. But today.] will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand [Goliath, you’re going to lose this fight]; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee [Goliath, you’re going to lose your head today. David is getting very specific here about how he’s going to kill Goliath. And the thing of it is, David doesn’t even have a sword. All he has is his shepherd’s staff, a sling and 5 stones. So how is he going to cut Goliath’s head off?]; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth [David puts God in a position of doing even more and greater miracles for him. Not only is David going to kill Goliath, but he’s going to kill a lot more Philistines today, so that by the time this day is over, the battlefield is going to be littered with Philistine carcasses]; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

David, I am saying, knew how the battle was going to end before the first stone was even slung. How did he know that? He knew it because he was trusting God to do the same thing to the Philistine that He helped him do to the lion and bear. By faith, David knew that what God did yesterday He will do today. The miracle that God did yesterday He will do today. Today is no exception. This fight, this trial, this giant, is no exception. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He saved yesterday. He will save today.

Brethren, WHEN YOU’RE BELIEVING GOD, WHEN YOU’RE BELIEVING HIS PROMISES, YOU’LL KNOW SOME THINGS BEFORE YOU EXPERIENCE THEM. BEFORE THEY EVEN COME TO PASS. You may not know everything about how it’s going to end. You may not  know all the details. But you’ll at least know how it’s going to end because, by faith, it’s you who determines how the fight is going to end.

David knew how the fight was going to end.  That’s why he wasn’t afraid to fight. That’s why his desire to stay alive and not get killed didn’t stop him from fighting Goliath. He already knew how the fight was going to end.

We all want to live in safety, in health, and in peace.  We do not savor the thought of dying a horrible death in combat or trial. It’s natural  to  want  to  stay  alive. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO STAY ALIVE AND KEEP OUT OF HARM’S WAY OR OUT OF DEATH’S REACH.

But WHEN YOU LET THE DESIRE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION KEEP YOU IN THE FOXHOLES, WHEN YOU LET IT STOP YOU FROM FIGHTING YOUR GOLIATHS; THEN THAT’S WHERE THE DESIRE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION BECOMES A VERY DETRIMENTAL THING FOR YOU.

Why detrimental? BECAUSE IT’S STOPPING YOU FROM BELIEVING AND FIGHTING. AND WHENEVER YOU REFUSE TO BELIEVE AND FIGHT YOU’RE ASKING THE DEVIL TO KEEP COMING BACK AND TAKING MORE LAMBS FROM THE FLOCK.

Brethren, YOU CAN’T FIGHT YOUR GOLIATHS AS LONG AS YOU’RE GOVERNED BY THE DESIRE TO STAY ALIVE! The desire to stay alive will keep you in the foxholes of life. It’ll keep you defeated, demoralized, and dispirited. It’ll keep the Devil coming back.

Coming Up On My Next Blog, Part 6. A continuing look at how David cultivated courage and faith in his day-to-day life as a shepherd.

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